Sunday, May 10

Clipping Masks UNMASKED and free CoffeeShop Storyboard Templates!

I love writing and using storyboard actions because they are fast, easily edited, and don't take much room on my hard drive. However, there are times that you just want a storyboard template image file so that you don't have to worry about running an action. So for this reason I will try to make actual .psd templates for all of my storyboards so you can skip the action if you want! To use these templates it is helpful to understand clipping masks so your images will fit perfectly. Here is a quick tutorial on using them, and at the end of the tutorial you will find the links to download two CoffeeShop Storyboard templates.

BTW, I also wrote an action called CoffeeShop Group It, that will automatically load your images in storyboards with clipping masks.

Open the CoffeeShop Template and your image.
I am going to place this image on the left vertical image cutout (black clipping mask)in the storyboard. Drag the image just ABOVE the black box where that image will go using your move tool.

Now you can see your image on the storyboard, but it is not within the cutout. You have to group the black clipping mask with your image.
Go to your fly-out menu on your layer's pane (make sure your image layer is selected and it is just above the black clipping mask) and select "Create Clipping Mask" (Photoshop only) or just select the image and press Alt+Ctrl+G (Photoshop only) OR dangle your mouse between your image and clipping mask cutout while pressing Alt, and when you see the hand become another little B&W round symbol, click. In Photoshop Elements click on the image layer and press Ctrl-G or dangle your mouse while holding Alt and look for the little symbol as mentioned above.
You can see your image is grouped with your black clipping mask cutout. If you can't see your image because it is behind your background or a different clipping mask, when you do the next step (free transform) you will be able to see where it is and drag it to the proper place. Now free transform (Ctrl+T) your image to taste (changing the size or moving it around) and it won't affect any of the other layers. If you can't see the transform bars, just click Ctrl-0 (zero) and your storyboard will shrink.  Once you adjust the image size you can make the storyboard fill the screen once again by clicking Ctrl-0.

Ctrl-T and drag the bars (holding down shift to maintain aspect ratio in Photoshop, making sure constrain proportions is checked in PSE) and adjust your image to fit. Don't hold shift in Photoshop Elements or your image will distort!!!

Once your image looks the way you want, press the checkmark on the upper menu bar and add your next image. Wasn't that easy!
If you don't want to use clipping masks with these templates you can also just drag and drop your image and make it fit OVER the black box. Or you can select the black box layer with your magic wand and press delete and drag your image below that layer. I prefer the clipping mask technique, but do whatever you find the easiest!
To change the background color, just select the background layer and Edit, Fill with the color of your choice. And if you want to add text, just add after flattening the image. It is that easy!
If the CoffeeShop storyboard you download has clipping mask frames (they will be on their own layer, labeled frames, and under their individual clipping mask), you can change their color by selecting them with the magic wand) or even delete them. Just make sure you have the frame layer selected before making changes!
To download the templates below just click on the images and you will find the download link on the bottom of the posts. You can also download the action if you haven't already!

I have also uploaded a new version of CoffeeShop Pink Glow. I added a B&W layer above the background that is turned off. Just turn it on to get a pink-toned B&W image.


  1. Thank you Rita. The directions are so clear! I'm off to give it a try.

  2. I love the amount of details you gave in your instructions through this tutorial. Great example. Looking forward to more from you.

  3. thanks! i bought some storyboards and it did not have any instructions.
    thanks alot! i love your work.

  4. Rita, Thank you so much for your tutorials, actions, and storyboards. They are so great!!! You had mentioned in an earlier post that you are open to storyboard suggestions. Here is my suggestions, I think it would be great to have a story board that has 2 rows (6 small boxes on top and 6 small boxes on the bottom) then 1 large rectangle next to the the 2 rows. I think it would be great to use for baby pictures (newborn to 5 months on top, 6 thru 11 months on the bottom) and then the large 1 year picture to the right. This will also work for kindergarten to HS graduation.


  5. Rita,
    I tried to use the clipping mask, but when I did the photo disappeared behind the template. What did I do wrong?

  6. Thank you! I am working on some pictures right now and using the tutorial. This is great!

  7. thank you for sharing this very useful tutorials

    keep on sharing

    i do appreciate this piece of art work!

  8. OH thank you so much!!! I thought b/c I have PSE6 that I could not do clipping masks. I have been doing things the hard way for so long this makes it so much easier. THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!
    the pictures helped tremendously. I can't thank you enough. God bless!

  9. I love you I love you I love you! Thanks for all the super easy tutorials! I was so frustrated before I read them and now I have a blog I LOVE!! Thank you!

  10. I finally got around to trying this. You were right, super easy!!!! Thank you Rita!!

  11. You helped my tremendously. I am new at photoshop elements. I love all the tutorials and help.

    Thank you SOOO much!!

  12. do I do the same concept but have my image show in 2 different boxes at the same time. I've seen it done before where the picture gets separated into the multiple masks so the image is broken up into the shapes. I tried linking the 2 clippings together before cntl+g but it still only attached to one mask.

  13. Rita

    Thank you for your generosity in sharing all you do so that you can help us look good.
    I am excited to try placing some photo's into the story boards using clipping masks.
    You are an amazing individual being wife,mom and creative genius behind all you do.
    Have a great day.

  14. Its absolutely INSANE how awesome you are! I absolutely LOVE learning from you and using your free actions! When I get some money saved up I will donate to you... Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  15. Very useful. I'm so grateful Mary shared this site.
    I'm loving it. Will try your storyboards now.
    Will be dropping by here often to check your site. Worthwhile.

  16. WONDERFUL!!! I finally figured it out :) I'm SO happy about this.

  17. OH MY GOODNESS. To ME, the directions sounded sooo confusing! I was making my own storyboard using the clipping masks. BUT, when I actually did it step by step, it was very simple and wonderfully written! YES!! *happy dance* Thank you so much, Rita, for all you provide for us!

  18. Your things are always so amazing...thank you!
    I have a quick question masks. If the mask contains a border color or and edge of any sort, the photo I group it with covers up the border and simply takes on the shape. You made some frames that I didn't have this problem with at all (and I was STOKED!) but it's usually a problem. I love the colors and decorative edges yet I can't figure out how to get my photo in the mask only. I use PSE6 (but am considering the upgrade to 9).
    Thank you for any help you might have...and thank you for reading. :)
    Leslie Lynn

  19. Rita! I am going to link to this tutorial from my blog: which should appear live by tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know. I offer up free templates on my website with the use of clipping masks, and I thought that this tutorial would be useful for others. I hope you don't mind? I'll add a button of yours (if I can find one) to my website so you can get a little bit more advertising as well. I really enjoy your actions and templates and hope that others will enjoy them too.


  20. I cant seem to get this to work. I have photoshop elements, do you have any idea what I might be doing wrong?

  21. How can I make convert the final image to a .jpg

  22. You have great ideas and information. It inspires me to do more with my photos...thanks!!

  23. you probably have this info somewhere but how do I get the number off the rounded corners template?

  24. I love these! You are amazing! I must be inept because I cannot get my picture into the box without creating a new layer! Any suggestions?

  25. I can not thank you enough for this tutorial! I've been banging my head against the wall for hours when I found your excellent explanation. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! (And I'm subscribing to your blog now so I can keep learning. Thank you!) :-)


Thank you for taking the time to leave a message, I love reading them! All comments are personally moderated by me and I will post and answer them them as soon as possible.